Why BEING KIND IS BAD -- Be Understanding Instead w/ Andrew GoldAug 10, 2021
Welcome to episode 6 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.
Episode 6’s guest is Andrew Gold. He’s presented and produced documentaries for both the BBC and HBO. The most famous one is about an exorcist in Argentina. Andrew now runs a podcast called On the Edge which is listened to by tens of thousands of people each week. He interviews outrageous people from all over the world with stories that you just wouldn’t believe.
Andrew himself has lived in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Germany and is now back home in the UK. He speaks 5 languages fluently which helps him to really understand his guests and get to a point of understanding where most people can’t access.
Andrew champions the idea of being understanding instead of being kind. For him, the idea of being kind is frustrating because it doesn’t take into account the nuances of life. It’s much more interesting to be understanding of people’s different points of view.
I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels.
- You can find all my work and socials here: http://amardeep.co
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- Follow him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewgold07/
- Follow him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewgold_ok/
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Why being kind is overrated.
- Kindness isn’t the solution to the problems humans have.
- We need to be more understanding of each other.
- Why it’s important to understand others.
- Why listening to others is important. How to be more understanding.
- How to understand people better.
- Understand others if you want to bring positive change.
- Introduction (0:00)
- Be understanding (1:53)
- Finding balance whilst moving around so much (11:52)
- Ideal lifestyle (17:16)
- “We need to be hungry sometimes.” (20:04)
- Some suffering is OK (27:11)
[00:00:00] Andrew: I find Be Kind really frustrating because it implies that life is really simple and that you get good people and bad people. Obviously there are bad people. There are psychopaths that are 1% of the population and it’s on a spectrum, so you’ll get maybe 5% of the population who are a little bit less empathetic than others. Although I have spoken to some of those people and they are actually sometimes forces for good because they can avoid making decisions based on emotions and some of the psychopaths I’ve spoken to said that they feel a duty despite having no emotional empathy, they feel a duty to sort of do good in the world and they find it very frustrating, how very empathetic people
[00:00:41] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is the amazing Andrew Gold. He presented and produced documentaries for both the BBC and HBO. The most famous is about an exorcist in Argentina and it’s not made up. That’s exactly what it’s about. You can check out online. He now has a podcast called On The Edge, which is listened to by tens of thousands of people each week.He interviews these outrageous people all over the world, with stories that you just wouldn’t believe. Andrew himself has lived in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, and is now back home in the UK. He speaks five languages fluently, which helps them to really understand his guests and to get these great insights, which other people aren’t able to get.
I hope you loved today’s coming. Welcome Andrew. It’s great to have you.
[00:01:27] Andrew: Thanks for having me on.
[00:01:28] Amardeep: How we actually met is because Andrew has an article for the Entrepreneur’s Handbook about the future of podcasting, and then I went into, looked into his podcast and he’s had some amazing guests, and it’s really interesting how he approaches people and people from different backgrounds. And when I asked him why, he gave me a warning, he didn’t agree with a lot of the stuff that’s written on Medium and someone’s self help out there. So he said he might be a bit controversial or against some of the views I say, and that made me want to have more, even more. So my first question is, what is something that you disagree with?
[00:01:54] Andrew: I’ve been making documentaries and doing a lot of journalism and meetings, sort of weird and bizarre and controversial subcultures around the world. And I think one bit of advice that has been really riling me is, Be Kind. I find Be Kind really frustrating because it implies that life is really simple and that you get good people and bad people. Obviously there are bad people. There are psychopaths that are 1% of the population and it’s on a spectrum. So you’ll get maybe 5% of the population who are a little bit less empathetic than others. Although I have spoken to some of those people and they are actually sometimes forces for good because they can avoid making decisions based on emotion. And some of the psychopaths I’ve spoken to said that they feel a duty despite having no emotional empathy they feel a duty to sort of do good in the world and they find it very frustrating how very empathetic people can be swayed one way or the other. I would say that empathetic people and, somebody spoke recently. I had an ex Scientologist on my podcast called John Atack and he spoke about a weaponized empaths. So people, people who do get in charge of certain ideologies and, you know, dictators and people like that, they will use empathetic people to do the most evil barbaric things because they always do it under the guise of righteousness. The Soviets did it under the guise of equity and equality, supposedly. The Nazis did it under the guise of eugenics and science and what they thought was the right science at the time. So even scientists as well, they get drawn in by these things and a huge part of the Nazi party with doctors and scientists who were hanged afterwards. So often people who think that they are morally upstanding and that they are, you know, that they’re good forever, and if you look back throughout history, nearly, always the ideas that were the good ideas of the day 20 years later, we’re no longer as such. And I think we need to be a bit more instead of be kind, I would say, be understanding and be aware that you not just that you might be wrong, but that you probably are wrong, that I’m probably wrong. And that things are not that simple. That’s why I don’t like Be Kind.
[00:03:58] Amardeep: Just think about that. It’s like in 50 years time, a hundred years time, we’re probably gonna be looked at as barbarians. We’re going to be seen as so uncivilized because we lived in certain ways. It’s really important to kind of keep that perspective of just because you think you’re good to somebody else that could mean that you’re a force of evil, because I think you mentioned that most people think that they’re doing good.Most people don’t think they’re bad. They’re doing things because that’s what they believe is right. If you look at how spread out political spectrum is at the moment we like to villainize the other side, but it’s very rare in this world that somebody is actually evil and what they want to do is help the people.What they’re trying to do often is protect one side, say that somebody who’s trying to look after somebody that they love is ending up hurting other people.
[00:04:42] Andrew: Yeah, no, I a hundred percent. And, and a lot of it is just about our ideologies, how we like to identify ourselves. They become really important to us. These ideologies we have. So some people might say, hang on, but I am very pro BLM and I’m white. So why am I, I, I’m not doing anything selfish here. And it’s like, well, the answer to that is of course you’re doing something selfish because everybody is doing selfish things all the time. It’s how we work. We’re quite basic and very complex animals that do selfish things. I know it’s a cliche, but there’s no unselfish act. So you are doing something you’re working on the narrative that you tell yourself the hero or the victim narrative and you’re doing what you think is good. You’ve been swept up by an ideology. I don’t just mean BLM of course. I mean, on the other side or even in the center, whatever ideology you have, you have to always try to remember that it is an ideology I’ve gone, you know, for my documentaries, I I’ve, I’ve hung out and embedded myself with an exorcist, for example, who really thought that there were demons inside people that he had to get out of whatever. And people who believed in him so much cured their mental illnesses, because the mind is so powerful and so strong. They believed that strongly in him that like a placebo, they are schizophrenia or the OCD, or they’re intrusive thoughts were cured temporarily, of course, but you know, as much as they can be. I’ve hung out with a woman called the crazy baby lady. And she does not, she doesn’t call herself. That is what people call her. She’s a fervent pro-lifer in Argentina who runs around with plastic fetuses, screaming at young women who want to get abortions, which, you know, that’s horrible and I’m pro-choice myself, but hanging out with her for a few weeks or a month, she was lovely. She, she took me out with her family. Six, her six kids. She made us food and she was so nice. She could have been like my auntie or my, you know, someone like that. And I never got any, any feeling like that, she thought she might be wrong, and so I had to get to a point where like, well, maybe, well, not that I’m wrong about that, but like, we’re all there is no necessarily right or wrong. It’s just, you know, and so when you come back after studying people like that who are quite extreme, and exorcist, a pro-lifer All sorts of weird and strange people. You come back and people are going like, oh, but can you believe that so-and-so voted for Brexit or so-and-so voted for Trump or Biden or, or to Romain, and it’s like, what if I absolutely can’t believe that? Because compared to where our beliefs can take us, that small change, that’s nothing compared to where we can go. If we let our beliefs. And I just finished that point with like, I’ve, I’ve read an interesting book called The Intelligence Trap by David Robson, who was on my podcast as well. And he talks about how often the smartest and most intelligent people make the biggest mistakes. And the part of that is because if your belief takes you one way or another, or your ideology does, then you’ve got the brains to back it up. You can, you can convince yourself if anything. It’s why we have really smart people like Noam Chomsky who have really far left and then really smart people who are really far right and everywhere in between. And he has this great example of the writer of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, who, you know, he’s the master of deduction. He’s supposed to be the guy to turn to for logic and stuff like that, and he believed in fairies because some 15 year old girls did a prank where they put a picture of fairies somewhere. And that would just put up by pins into a cardboard, whatever. And he believed that the pins that were in their stomach were belly buttons, and that was proof that fairies could have children. I mean, it led to the falling out his falling out with his best friend Houdini over it because Houdini was an absolute, you know secular person, and he believed in it so strongly, Arthur Conan, Doyle, and he’s the perfect example of how we should never be sure of anything. So never tell anyone be kind, because you have to think about whether you’re being kind.
[00:08:19] Amardeep: Yeah. There’s lots of unpick there, but one of the things I’ve always heard is that the golden rule of treat others, how you’d like to be treated, but that’s kind of them pushing on your beliefs of how people should be treated onto them. It’s not, whereas the better rule is to, treat people how they want to be treated.
[00:08:36] Andrew: Or don’t expect everybody to treat you well and just live with it.
[00:08:41] Amardeep: But it’s when you’re like reacting with other people, you shouldn’t expect them to react the same way that you do to different events, because a lot of it has to do with the stories that we were told. So the stories we tell ourselves, but also the stories we’ve been told as we’ve been growing up. If their parents told them and put them in an environment where that was the truth, it’s very difficult to break out of that. And we shouldn’t judge them for that. It’s how you try to reach an understanding with them and help them to understand your point of view as well?
[00:09:05] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Well, shouting at them and telling them they’re idiots or that they’re horrible or whatever is never going to work. So yeah. I had a, I had a guy on a podcast called Jesse Morton as well, who he was a former Jihadist and he, he, it was his, that that made the Boston bombing and that the marathon there and he now works to get people back and he criticizes a lot of the agencies who do that, who come from a very sort of what they would call a progressive stance, and they just sort of have a go at these guys and tell them they’re wrong. Whereas he tries to go in there and understand them and befriend them and say, I get why you think this way, and you’re not entirely wrong. I get why you have these issues. You know, you’ve grown up in this environment and these things and not everything you say is wrong, but let’s go for a drink and let’s talk and you calm, you bring someone around because if you shout at a whole group of people and tell them they’re idiots and they’re go and vote for Trump. I mean, I I’m even tempted to vote for Trump. What I get, if I got told that kind of thing and he’s, I think he’s a sociopath. I wouldn’t vote for Trump.
[00:10:02] Amardeep: Two or four years ago, I would have thought the other side were idiots, then you had, because you had, and then you have the Trump vote and then you, the Brexit vote as soon off each other, and it, just, to me, what it revealed is I was living in a bubble. I didn’t actually understand a lot of, I thought I did, but I didn’t at all because you can’t just write off half the population. There’s got to be something that you can learn from that. And that’s what I’m trying to do at least, and I’m not perfect, but at least I’m trying, and I think that’s a big part of it.
[00:10:29] Andrew: Yeah. If you’re 27 now?
[00:10:32] Amardeep: 29.
[00:10:34] Andrew: Sorry, you said 29. Young looking skin. Now, but so yeah, it’s a beautiful lighting. So yeah, you were 27, right? 26, 25, 24, whatever that age, I was exactly the same as you and I often wonder at m y own children, if I had, if I had children, would I want them to be so sort of cynical, I guests by the time they’re 17, maybe it’s nice for them to go through this stage of like the really so-called lefty, progressive ideologies and stuff, and then they can sort of go through it and change. I think utterly different things to what I thought 10 years ago. I’m 32, when I was 22, I thought as same as you, I was completely on the other side. Although, although not as fervently as a lot of my friends were, there was always a bit of me holding back. I think there was a bit of me always going, is this really what? I don’t know, I’m caught up in it now. So I’m excited about this. Yeah, I think it would be a failure for me in terms of my thinking. If, when I’m 42, I still think the same things I do now. That’s not to say you always move in a, in a better way, but you should be always looking to challenge yourself and move. You might, you might get further from where you should be. You might come back again, but it’s good to move around rather than stay entrenched on one side or the other.
[00:11:41] Amardeep: Yeah. One thing you mentioned to me before is about that you have moved around a lot, so you’re originally from London but then you’ve lived all over the world now and you’ve obviously gained different people’s opinions and perspectives over that time, the documentaries you’ve made, it’s a very different lifestyle, it’s what many people have experienced? Was there a time during this period where you found it tough and you found it hard to balance yourself and what helps you realign again? Because it must be fairly stressful to be moving around so much.
[00:12:08] Andrew: Yeah, I think what was hard, the hardest part now thinking about it actually was, I got into a bit of a habit where it was a bit cheaper to live out in Buenos Aires. I lived in Rio de Janeiro as well, and in Metagene in Columbia and yeah, living was cheaper, and I was, I was always very ambitious in terms of like making my documentaries and stuff like that and trying to get them sold to TV channels,but in terms of, yeah, the hard part was that a lot of my friends back in London were getting jobs and then moving up and being promoted. Some were then getting married and having kids and having a big car and all that kind of stuff. They were becoming adults before my eyes. And I sort of was going back into this time warp with all the ex-pats back in Buenos Aires, where all my friends, even at 28, 29, 30, 31 were single and playing football andhaving some beers, not that I, I wasn’t much into like clubbing or anything like that. And I was working a few hours in the morning doing my writing, and if I didn’t have a documentary or anything going on, I would fall into this trap of just like going, you know, sitting by the pool, and I sort of felt sometimes, most of the time that was nice.And then there were times where I felt like, god, I’m sort of wasting my life away, like everybody at home’s grown up and I’m just sat by the pool, you know, sunburned. So there was a feeling like that sometimes. And I had to balance that with, we’re trying also to do something really ambitious and make a documentary and make something bigand the idea was like, I don’t want to go back to the UK until I’ve got something big to show for myself. Like, okay, I’ve done my thing, and that’s why I took my time off, you know.
[00:13:40] Amardeep: So you’re still not back in the UK, right? So what changed that opinion? So what made you feel like, it was OK to continue, to figure out and to continue doing what you’re doing?
[00:13:48] Andrew: I gradually started to move at least closer, as we moved to Germany, with my girlfriend who’s Argentine, so we talked about, yeah, moving back to Europe, at least. What changed was when I had my BBC documentary out, so it was like, okay, like, at least that happened and that was probably the thing of which I’m most proud in my life. So it’s just thinking of that. I’m not, but I’m not proud of my girlfriend, and I love her. I was cause if I’d said like the documentary is the thing I love the most, that would have been an insulting thing about her, but I can say it’s the thing of which I’m most proud. Yeah. I, you know, we made it my friend and I, we have no budget and no, no equipment or anything, and we just went out and started shooting without really knowing what we were doing and sold it to the BBC. And that was huge and it meant I can come back. We are going back to the UK in a couple of weeks now. So we’re moving back mid August and we’re gonna move to Bristol. There are loads of production companies and TV companies and things like that. So at least I can come back, saying I succeeded with that one thing. I would have liked to have been a bit more prolific, a bit more consistent with that kind of work and have a bigger body of work or that there are a few other things that I did. I’ve got my podcast as well that I can start earning from. So it’s just a mixture of things, as well as the fact that even if I hadn’t gone gotten any of that, it might’ve felt like a failure but I would still have to come back now because I’m in my thirties, I’ll be 33 next March. It’s time to think about, like, if I do want to have a family, I got to start thinking about that. My girlfriend’s a lawyer in Argentina and she needs to do a conversion course to be able to practice law in the UK. So she’s going to do that, and we’re, I guess finally, you know, becoming adults.
[00:15:22] Amardeep: What kind of life are you seeing after yourself now is in Bristol? With your girlfriend doing her conversion course, you continue to have a podcast and, I guess, continue, make more documentaries too?
[00:15:33] Andrew: Yeah, well, I hope so. It’s just so hard to make documentaries. To get them commissioned, particularly present led ones where I’m on the screen, which is what I like to do. I’m not a behind camera. I’ve got no problem with that. I’m just not particularly good at it. The, the behind camera stuff, I’m not, I’m not someone who’s good at shooting film. Producing is quite boring. It’s mostly just setting up meetings. So if I’m going to make documentaries, I want to be on the screen and I want to be interviewing people and riling them up and annoying them. Getting under their skin and exposing staff and finding out the truth. That’s really, really hard for a few reasons. Now, one is that there has been a bit of a move away from presented documentaries outside of like Vice, maybe in some other places. Most documentaries, you find in Netflix or the BBC now are not with hosts in the front of the screen. When they do use presenters and hosts, they tend to go for experts. Whereas like Louie Theroux in the nineties would have been, you know, he was just the journalist. He wasn’t an expert and that was the whole fun of it. Now they want to have, you know, professor Brian Cox, someone like that, who’s a real expert. And that’s the same for podcasts for books, for people like to hear experts, which I suppose is a, is a good thing, or they’re not necessarily a good thing for, for journalists without a specialization. And yes. So it’s increasingly difficult to get those made but I’d be up for, you know, radio documentaries, and all sorts of different, as long as I’m out interviewing, I’ve been writing a couple of books that are with an agent at the moment. So hopefully. They’ll get sold. I love that. I love writing. So yeah. So quite exciting. Excited to get back there to Bristol.
[00:17:03] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show. What do you think your ideal lifestyle would look like? So if you’re able to get a thing under control and the right pens going, so obviously some of the day was be podcasting, some of it, creating.. What was the kind of balance of, let’s say like how many hours a week you want to be working relative to, time for your family and your girlfriend.
[00:17:57] Andrew: Cause I guess, yeah, like I say, you know, friends are having babies and stuff and I’m going to have to do that at some point and that’s just going to ruin my life. And it’s just a fact, isn’t it? I mean, people, even when you ask people who love being parents, which is like very few people, when they’re, when they’re honest, they hate it. Even the ones who do love it, just say, yeah, I mean, my life was totally ruined, but you know, whatever. So whatever happens, I’m not going to have that balance because it’s going to be shit. And I am worried about it because because of the nature of my work, just like your work has a lot of it is just at home and stuff. So even if you have a very understanding partner, if she’s going off to like work in a law firm or whatever it might be, I think it could be very tempting to be like, yeah, well, you’re just sitting around the house anyway, could you just, you look after the kids maybe, and then you’re, you know, that’s a big concern for me in terms of balance, life work balance. I do sometimes get carried away, especially with the podcast, the podcast, when I started at a year ago and it’s gone from like, you know, from nothing, there were no followers at all to like 20,000 now weekly, which is really exciting. So, but that came with just like, and I imagine it’s the same for you with your work on Medium and all that stuff. It’s just like that. There’s a reason. So few of us, and I don’t mean this in an arrogant way about us. I just mean it’s so hard to crack and anybody who’s cracked any of these online Mediums or platforms or whatever would agree with that. It’s, you need luck and I’m sure you had some luck, maybe a couple of the articles, you know, exploded more than you expected. I got the same of the podcast, maybe a few, a few different episodes that just shared better than I’d have hoped. And then it shared on some platforms, which I didn’t expect. The first year has been almost how like that. So yeah, eventually, I mean, one day it would be nice to maybe even have somebody working for me, helping with the edits and, if I, if I could bear to give up any of that control, you know helping with the production and getting guests, I even had some, you know, a couple of people emailing saying that they could do work experience for me, and I felt too awkward about it. Like, well, I can’t, what are they going to do? And I’m going to, I felt too awkward. Someone’s working for me for free. So I said no for now, but maybe that would be nice at some point, and then, yeah, I mean, a couple of days of the week for eight or nine hours working on the podcast and a couple of days writing my next book and you know, a day or two here and there, maybe making a radio documentary or a TV documentary, that would be a beautiful life for me. You know, if I can get to that point, I don’t need to be rich, just enough to be able to afford an okay life. You know, I’d be happy.
[00:20:24] Amardeep: On the point about the work experience I’ve got a friend who doesn’t look like this, which I found quite funny and I couldn’t do myself. They’d created an internship system where they have a rolling, like personal assistant and they get it’s like people from all over the world to apply, to be their personal assistant, as work experience. It’s, they have a free assistant all the way around the year because for those people, it’s a way to get experience into their CV,
[00:20:47] Andrew: What’s the first letter of his first name?
[00:20:49] Amardeep: It’s a woman.
[00:20:50] Andrew: Okay. It’s not the same person then, because I know a friend of mine, a friend of mine’s got a system where he got four people to intern for him in his small startup he’s got, and then he realized that he wanted them to stay on after a few months. And he was like, how can I get them to stay on? By giving them more responsibility and a bigger name. So what he did was he got them all for interns so that they became managers working for free still. So he’s got like a massive pyramid scheme of interns,
[00:21:18] Amardeep: They’re managers, while working for free still?
[00:21:20] Andrew: Yeah, because it’s good on their CVS. Imagine that they’re like a manager, they had four people working under them.
[00:21:24] Amardeep: So what I’m doing myself is I’m training up my little cousin and I’m going to have her as my assistant, who is only gonna be two or three hours a week, it’s not going to be much. But she’s still in high school, so it’s going to be able to help her that personal statement and for her to hopefully get a university place. So, I’m paying her because I feel way too bad to make her do it for free. I think it’s kind of a nice win-win there where it’s helping caregiver experience and also helping me by having less work. So it could be something like that that can work for you if you don’t want to have unpaid, but you can help somebody as well that like, if a cousin or a nephew, niece.
[00:21:59] Andrew: I got a little sister, but she’d never do it. She’s 14. She won’t, she just wants to watch YouTube, you know.
[00:22:06] Amardeep: But I guess if you pay her, she might be willing to help.
[00:22:10] Andrew: Yeah. But she, well, I don’t, I just don’t trust us to do it quite frankly, the work.
[00:22:15] Amardeep: Yeah. Hopefully she doesn’t listen to this. The next question, which I think is going to quite interesting to hear what you’ve got to say. So what’s one mindset shift that you think people can make that will make them happier?
[00:22:24] Andrew: Hmm. Yeah. So I was, I, I think with this, this question, this is like the key question that everybody’s looking at on Medium. How can I be happier? And again, it just, it’s just, it’s the, we’re asking the wrong question. You’re not asking the wrong question because it’s an interesting question to ask on, on the podcast, but it is for people at home to be thinking, how can I be happier? I think is, the wrong question, because if you want, I mean, what does happiness mean? And if you want happiness, I mean, anybody, anybody who’s read Huxley, Brave New World, those people are all very happy because they’re taking, I think it was called Soma, the pills that they took as basically like Prozac, you can go and take Prozac if you want and you can be happy. There are mice that I’ve heard about that they did experiments on, scientists have done experiments where mice would, what was it? They could choose between having some food or pushing a button that pushed, had a direct link to their brains and gave them instant serotonin. So serotonin, so it’s basically heroin for them. You know, it just basically makes them feel happy. The reason that they eat is because they want to be happy, but if they can just push a button to make them happier, there’s no reason to eat and they all died. The mice died of starvation because they push that button so often. So it’s a weird way way of putting it that I’m going to, I’m just going to put it this way, that you know, will happiness bring you happiness and happiness didn’t bring those mice happiness and it, it, what, what does that mean? I think maybe we want fulfillment and the satisfaction. You want to meet your life goals. You want to set some interesting life goals. I think if I’m being really pessimistic that humans have terrible suffering and the suffering, you know, we’re the only animal that’s aware of its own mortality. And we tell ourselves things with cognitive bias like, oh, well I think when I’m 90 I’ll have had enough, but you know, that’s just something that we tell ourselves, very few people when they are knocking on death’s door are just like, well, I had a good innings, goodbye. You know, it’s, it’s a horrible, horrible fact that we are aware of. And that is very tough, so all you can do, I think is distract yourself by trying to think about, you know, like I say, setting some goals. I don’t have time to think about God when I’m 80, blah, blah, blah. Because I’m thinking, oh, I got to get another documentary done. I got to work hard. I got to make sure my family are happy.
Those kinds of things, so I think anybody who’s sitting there going, why am I unhappy? The other thing to do with that is I think there was an interesting article in The Times, the other day about suffering and about our desperation right now, to eradicate all suffering. Now suffering in terms of like, people are hungry, that’s something that we should be trying to eradicate. That’s no good that doesn’t help anybody, but in terms of, I, you know, people talk about microaggressions, people talk about these slight things that offended them and stuff like that. I’ve had tons of things that have offended me in my life, and I know people will be listening, going, oh, when you’re a middle-class white person, you know, and I get that, but just in my own life, compared to the good days, I’ve had bad days that might not be as bad as other people’s days, but their bad days. And they’ve made me stronger. They’ve they’ve made me more creative, more artistic. What kind of art would be produced in a world that has no suffering anymore? So, I don’t know. I think, I think we are right. It’s a, it’s a good instinct to want to get rid of suffering and to be happy all the time, but if you get rid of art and stuff like that, you’ll have that kind of, we’ll be, we’ll be mice in a cage pushing a button basically. We need to be hungry sometimes and we need to be a creative and interesting and interested and distracted from mortality.
[00:25:55] Amardeep: Well, I think of there is in Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, I think he talks about this of what’s the end goal of humanity. What were you trying to aim for? And with happiness, is happiness pleasure? Which would be like the serotonin. Is it contentment? Where you have a lack of suffering? What exactly is it where, as you said, if we didn’t have any suffering, then how would we know what’s good? So if you had, let’s say everything you ever tasted, tasted amazing. How would you know that you’ve been tasting amazing because it would just become normal? So having the bad days and makes the good days feel good.
[00:26:26] Andrew: Yean, have some shit food sometimes.
[00:26:28] Amardeep: Yeah. And sometimes I wonder about this in terms of enlightenment where people who try for enlightenment, whereas you can have complete detachment, nothing can make you feel bad. It wasn’t means nothing can make you feel good as well. And I don’t think many people actually want to live like that, being constantly okay, could feel really boring where maybe you’d rather have a bad day because then you can have a good day. So the Olympics is going on at the moment, right? Is if you want every single race in your life, then it wouldn’t matter to you as much,
whereas if you lost a few races and then you’ll finda way get back to it. It makes it matter so much more. I do think we sometimes need that kind of cycle in our lives where what I guess I’m trying to aim for is trying to reduce the suffering, so reduce how bad I take the bad days, but still trying to appreciate the good days, and it’s difficult because if you’re numbing yourself to the bad, you’re also numbing yourself to the good, in some ways too.
[00:27:25] Andrew: Yeah, Dolly Parton. If you want to have the rainbows, you got to put up with the rain. But I think that, that Buddhism stuff, I got a lot of friends who I respect a lot, who have really, really into Buddhism and things like that. And it’s because it is this nice idea. I think part of it, if I’m being cynical is a bit of exoticism. It’s a bit of like, oh, this far Eastern ideology, that must somehow be better than what we have here and whatever, but I totally agree with you like this idea of like, yeah, eradicating suffering. I mean, it’s quite Huxleian, so I don’t know why, it never appealed to me, and when you’re stuck, there was a great episode of Louie, Louie CK is sitcom, obviously he did some horrible, weird things later on, but his series is brilliant. And there’s an episode where he’s really heartbroken and he speaks to this older wise guy who hates him in the building and the guys are, oh, what’s wrong with you? And Louise going like, well, I’ve got my heart broken by this girl and he’s going so? You’re lucky. You should enjoy that. I wish I had my heart broken. I haven’t felt anything in 30 years. Enjoy that moment. Feel that like breathe that moment in, and then it, it, it’s something. You’re feeling. You’re alive. That’s how people, I think that’s the best advice I could give someone who’s, I know it’s harder. It’s hard to do. And it’s hard for me to do, but if you’re suffering and you’re and you feel sad and depressed and you’re going, how can I be happier? Trying to appreciate those moments and wait for the happy moments. Of course I’m simplifying it. And people have things like depression and stuff. So, you know, I would recommend speaking to a therapist and things like. Some suffering is okay.
[00:28:48] Amardeep: We can’t aim for eradicating suffering altogether, but what we can try to do, I think, I mentioned this before about, we can get rid of the most extreme suffering. If we have people who have bad days, but it’s not bad days where, it’s slipping into depressive moods and slipping into suicidal thoughts or specific into very bad negative spirals. That is, I think something we can strive for where, and obviously, especially like we’re both sitting here, we’re both relatively privileged than many other people. If we can get the suffering levels of the people who are like in the poorer countries or in much worse situations, so that is something which I think if we can strive for that, but not striving for never stubbing our toes again, for example. Yeah.
[00:29:29] Andrew: Well, look, those guys in absolute poverty, impoverished circumstances, they’re not, probably not reading Medium articles about how to be happy and how to, or the other side, you know, how to stop having microaggressions and the correct language to use for people like that. I think we can get, we can get bored sometimes and we’re looking for more and more and that’s, that’s very human, again, very Huxley and this temptation to make everything perfect and happy, and nobody ever says anything offensive nobody ever upsets you and stuff like that. And I think, when it is minor like that, if it’s, if it’s major fair enough, I totally get what you’re saying. If it’s. I think we, we need to be, be strong. We need to try. That’s the best thing I can offer, I think.
[00:30:11] Amardeep: Yeah, it’s been great to have you on Andrew. Where can we hear more from you?
[00:30:16] Andrew: Yeah, they can hear if there, there must be so bored of hearing from me already, but if they want to hear more, yeah. My podcast is On the Edge with Andrew Gold. That’s at YouTube. Websites for it’s, but it gets a lot more hits as just audio Spotify. What’s the other one? Apple podcasts and Castbox Stitcher, Google podcasts. And I interview weird, strange, controversial people and thought leaders from around the world. We have a lot of fun and learn lots of really interesting things. And I shut up a lot more actually, so because I’m the host in that one, so I’m mostly just asking people’s stuff.
[00:30:46] Amardeep: And the final thing to wrap up with is what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently?
[00:30:51] Andrew: Yeah, well, this, this was, I got, I got really excited. I get, you know, when you’ve got a podcast, you get reviews every now and then and they pop in through my emails and most of them, you know, they’re nice. Most, not, not because everyone loves my podcast, but just because very few, you have to really dislike one, I think, to both going in and leaving a review, which some people do. Or some people, I got a funny one the other day that was. I think it was two stars or three and it just said, like, I loved the first 10 episodes, how to use this is what a great podcast, and then he mentioned that he worked for The Sun, so I’ve stopped listening now and I’m done with it. Now that’s helpful, you know, ridiculous. But yeah, I got one the other day that was from a Trump supporter who said, you know, I’m, I’m a big Trump supporter and blah, blah, blah. And sometimes the episodes are a little bit too liberal or whatever for me. But he’s brought me round on some of those things, like some of the guests have brought this, this review around, and that was just an amazing feeling for me. This idea of. There was a great book called Hillbilly Elegy that I read a few years ago. They made a movie of it, which I think did really badly, but it was written by a guy, I want to say his name is Vance or Launce, something like that. It’s written by a guy who was from Kentucky and sort of got out of the poverty belt or the Bible belt over there, became a very successful lawyer. But he talks about why most people from where he was from voted for Trump and how they felt they’d been left behind and that everybody, you know, Elites, Liberal people from elite liberal institutions, on both coasts and the states just told them how stupid they were and how fortunate and privileged they were all the time. And these are people who like couldn’t put food on the table for their families. And they’re just being told all the time you idiot. You’re so privileged. Why don’t you realize that? They’ve got no education? They’ve got nothing. So they’re just going, oh well, screw you, I’m not voting, you know, we’ve talked about how ideologies are so important to people and what team you’re on, what tribe you’re on. That is not how you bring people around. So for me to have this Trump guy who obviously has some ideologies and views that are far more extreme and probably further rights than mine to be brought around by a few of my podcasts, it, it felt like a really good thing. And it made me feel, yeah. Genuinely really happy and joyful. Yeah. That’s awesome.
[00:32:57] Amardeep: It’s, it’s one of those things where lots of people try to do what you’re doing, but to know that you’ve actually achieved something where you’re bringing some of these more tools, moderation, and being able to understand other people, there’s nothing better than that. If I can try to do that with my podcast, that’ll be amazing.Yeah, that’s what it’s about. It’s why we, you know, apart from money and stuff like that, it’s why we write. We want to, you want to, this is what’s language is for? I had, I had a linguist on my podcast as well. She talks about, I said, what is language? And she said, it’s, it’s how we manipulate. Manipulate people is how we tell them we want something. You tell your mum, you know, I want some juice.And as you get older, that becomes more elaborate, but we are basically talking and writing to manipulate people. So, that’s what we’re aiming for. And hopefully, and I’m sure actually I’ve had people who were very far left, who were not obviously Trumpists, who who’ve listened to the podcast and have been moved by people who are more centrist or center.Right. And stuff like that. Some of them have been surprised. I had Lourdes Daniel Finkelstein. Who’s a conservative peer and a writer for the Sunday times columnist. So again, he’s much further. You know, more conservative than a lot of the listeners might have been. And a lot of them got in touch after to go, wow, I didn’t expect that at all because he had some very progressive pro trans views and he’s a Lord, you know?And it’s just like, when you actually sit down and listen to each other, we all just, we all just want the same thing. Like we just, we want to be happy and we want to get on and we want, you know, nice stuff. So that’s, that’s life.
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